Hertz is making headlines with a new program, Hertz for Heroes, in support of U.S. troops returning home for the holidays.
The goal is to donate the equivalent of 40,000 free weekend rentals for servicemen and servicewomen between Veterans Day (November 11) and December 31 with a portion of each rental going towards a pool at an estimated value of $3 million.
The idea for Hertz for Heroes came from employees who have served in the military and it bubbled up, fittingly, through the ranks of the Hertz Hub, a company-wide regular webcast with Mark P. Frissora, Chairman and CEO, a forum for general good and welfare.
Hertz counts among its own troops twelve employees on Military Leave of Absence, dozens of reservists among their active employee base and 1000 employees who are vets.
When the idea was announced internally on Hertz.com, it received the largest e-mail response in fifteen years and touched “an underestimated emotional chord,” said Jerry Preyss, VP branding and innovation who spoke with Brandchannel about the initiative created by DDB New York.
“It cuts through political lines in a totally bi-partisan support of our troops. We can’t wait to thank them for their bravery, sacrifice, and dedication.”
Hertz will give away 40,000 vouchers, each good for a 3-day weekend rental on a midsize car at any Hertz airport or neighborhood location in North America, good for 18 months, expiring on June 30, 2013.
The NDTA, the Association for Global Logistics & Transportation, a non-profit educational, defense transportation-oriented association, run by ex-military personnel, is partnering with Hertz in the distribution of vouchers through various military channels and organizations after January 1, 2012.
Hertz will track progress towards its goal on Hertz.com and every transaction – from Hertz on Demand, Hertz Equipment Rental, Hertz Car Sales, and Hertz Entertainment Services will count, with 1% of proceeds towards our the 40,000 free weekend rentals.
Hertz fans can also participate on Facebook and Twitter where the topic is trending.
“Hertz is in the business of using technology to improve the customer experience, making it easier, faster and more transparent, says Pryess.” That’s why we invented the whole ‘bypass Gold’ and Rewards concept. We offer a seamless rental experience and beginning in January, from the moment when the plane lands, you’ll get a message on your smartphone with all you need to pick up your car. Same when you are finished, an e-return will let you pull up, drop off, and walk away in under half an hour with an e-receipt.”
In 2010, Hertz's Electric Vehicle (EV) push aggressively embraced social media in an ecosystem for engaging customers at recharging stations, as well as to attract one million fans on the brand's Facebook page, and on Twitter, @connectbyhertz.
Last year, Hertz partnered with IBM to create "Voice of the Customer" data capture using social media to gain insights and improve the customer experience. The system also flags customers who request a callback from a manager or who mention #1 Club Gold as seen in this video from IBM and Mindshare.
According to Pryess, Hertz’s three defining brand characteristics are innovation, the vehicles themselves and customer-centricity.
“We were the first major in the category to by-pass the rental counter through technology. As for our vehicles, at the end of the day it’s the journey that matters most, a clean, new car that achieves an adrenaline connection, be it retro-muscle or part of our prestige collection. And our Hertz Hub, is the pulse of the customer where our brand is seen through their eyes.”
Hertz is committed to military recruiting through a variety of organizations to hire former Military personnel for all of its business units which include: Rent A Car, Equipment Rental, Hertz on Demand car sharing, Car Sales, Advantage Rent A Car, and Donlen Leasing.
Hertz is creating a military portal for all Hertz vacancies going live in 2012, and through partnerships with Monster, Careerbuilder, Beyond.com and Direct Employers, open positions are regularly posted on Veteran's websites such as: HireVetsFirst, RecruitMilitary, HirePatriots and Military.com
The just announced Hertz ‘Movin’ with Music,’ is a multi-year sponsorship and marketing alliance with Live Nation Entertainment that includes the 2012 introduction of Hertz Live Radio to be streamed at Hertz facilities, on Hertz buses and in the Hertz Music Store where Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members can use points to buy music online.
“This is promotion and eCommerce at its best – delivering enhanced value to consumers by providing easy access to Hertz and generating sales to our bottom line while defining and building brand affinity,” commented Hertz Chairman and CEO Mark P. Frissora. “By closely aligning Hertz with live music and tapping into Live Nation’s multi-channel network, we are changing how we drive interaction among existing and potential customers.
On the drawing board, bike rental in the great northwest - another idea percolating up through Hertz Hub, as well as follow-up on the Hertz for Heroes program.
The word hertz, meaning cycles per second, named for the German physicist Heinrich Hertz, is apt for a brand with an eye always on the next step in connecting with the consumer as seen in this spot titled Hertz - The Gas or The Brake.
Sheila Shayon is a senior media executive with 25+ years in television and new media including expertise in programming, production, broadband, start-up models, creative and branding strategies, digital content and social networking.
Shayon has worked for HBO, Time Warner Cable and Wisdom Television. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication.
Currently, as President/Founder of Third Eye Media, a New York-based multimedia production company, Shayon works with online brands to combine editorial content and social networking applications.
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